Congressman Dan Lipinski's Five-Point Jobs Plan
Putting Americans Back to Work
America’s middle class has suffered over the past three decades and has been especially hard hit in the past 10 years. The middle class has been hurt not only by changing global economics, but also by Washington officials who have consistently supported policies that hurt the middle class while doing little to help. Historically, our nation’s greatest strength has been a broad middle class along with ample opportunity for economic advancement. But we have seen the erosion of good-paying middle class jobs – especially in manufacturing – due to unfair trade practices, currency manipulation, and the indifference of politicians who sometimes seem more concerned about helping multinational corporations than supporting American workers. The result has been a widening gap between the people who have been lifted by globalization and those who have been swept under.
My five-point jobs plan addresses many of the issues that are critical to rebuilding the middle class, while also providing people from all backgrounds the opportunity to live the American Dream. The five areas of focus are strengthening manufacturing, modernizing our infrastructure, enforcing fair trade, investing in innovation, and improving education and workforce training.
My American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, H.R. 5865, would help implement policies that boost American manufacturing. This bill, which passed the House of Representatives with an overwhelming bipartisan vote in September, would direct the creation of a manufacturing strategy based on the recommendations of a bipartisan board consisting of individuals from the private and public sectors. A streamlined effort to incentivize domestic manufacturing would help create jobs that would help our middle class grow and reverse the trend of a growing wealth gap.
Modernizing Our Infrastructure
I strongly promoted, through my position on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the reauthorization of the federal highway and transit funding bill that would immediately put millions of people to work and boost our economy in the long run by making our transportation system more efficient. Congress finally passed a 27 month long bill this past summer. Although this bill does not increase the amount of funding for Illinois roads and public transit – leaving us far short of what it would take to make needed repairs and improvements – I am proud to have led a bipartisan fight that helped stop the House Republican bill that would have meant steep cuts for our region and for Illinois. If I am re-elected in November, I will be the most senior Illinois member on the Transportation Committee and will work hard to pass a better bill before the current one expires in September 2014.
This past year, I also helped pass the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which will continue improvements in America’s aviation system. O’Hare, Midway, and Lewis University airports will all benefit from this bill and continue to be job creation engines in the region. Throughout my time in Congress, I have been highly successful at securing funding for transportation projects in the Third District. I will continue to fight for projects – like the CREATE rail modernization project in Chicago and the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) – that create jobs now and form the basis for future economic growth.
Enforcing Fair Trade
I continue to press Congress and the President to pass legislation that will put pressure on China to raise the value of its currency, which it artificially suppresses in order to lower the price of its exports, putting American companies and workers at a disadvantage. Last Congress, I cosponsored and helped pass a bill in the House that would have done this. This Congress, I have signed a “discharge petition” to force the House to consider a similar bill. I have also pushed to enforce our existing trade agreements and laws in defense of American workers, and voted against NAFTA-style trade agreements that put free trade above fair trade and neglect the painful lessons we have learned in recent decades about the impact of unfair trade on the American middle class.
Investing in Innovation
To promote innovation and ensure America remains the world’s leading source of new technologies, I have helped to write and pass legislation that puts us on a path to double investment in high-tech research and speeds the commercialization of researchers’ discoveries to help create jobs. I have also been a leading supporter of research and development in areas such as nanotechnology, which has extraordinary potential to create jobs and transform industries ranging from medicine to clean energy. To aid small business innovation, I helped pass a bill that is providing $12 billion in small business tax relief and increased access to credit, and successfully worked to reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research program to support research and development done by small businesses.
Improving Education and Workforce Training
To foster a better-educated and highly trained workforce, which is critical for individual economic opportunity and national competitiveness, I am working to improve science, technology, engineering, and math education through my position as Ranking Member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Science Education. The Department of Labor projects 15 of the 20 fastest-growing occupations will require significant math or science preparation, and we need to make sure that America’s schools can meet the demand for a skilled, technologically savvy workforce. I helped author and pass into law the America COMPETES Act and the National Science Foundation Reauthorization Act to address some of these concerns. Additionally, we need to do a better job of re-training workers who have lost their jobs, especially through our community colleges.
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